Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Iwaasa & Murray, Lambert & Saunders are 2018 Canadian Doubles Champions

Coby Iwaasa and Samuel Murray won Men’s Doubles with Frédérique Lambert and Jennifer Saunders winning Women’s Doubles at the 2018 Canadian National Racquetball Championships in Winnipeg, Manitoba. All four players had previously been doubles champions, but with different partners. Iwaasa and Murray had each won twice previously: Iwaasa with Mike Green both times, and Murray with Pedro Castro and Vincent Gagnon. Lambert had won doubles once before with Brandi Jacobson Prentice, while Saunders had 11 doubles titles previously (10 with Josée Grand’Maître and 1 with Danielle Drury).

The Men’s Doubles final was a brother showdown, as Samuel Murray’s older brother Tommy was on the other side playing with Nicolas Bousquet. Iwaasa and Samuel needed a tie-breaker to defeat Bousquet and Tommy, 15-13, 10-15, 11-6.

On the women’s side, Lambert and Saunders beat Michèle Morissette and Christine Richardson in two close games, 15-9, 15-13.

The National Championships is also the third event that is used to select Canada’s National Team that will compete at the 2018 International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships in August in Cali, Colombia. The doubles results will be combined with the singles results from this week, as well as the results from the two National Team Selection Events that happened earlier this season, to select the players for Cali.

2018 Racquetball Canada National Championships
May 20-26, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Men's Open Doubles

1st Place


Coby Iwaasa & Samuel Murray d. Nicolas Bousquet & Tommy Murray, 15-13, 10-15, 11-6

3rd Place

James Landeryou & Tim Landeryou d. Lee Connell & Trevor Webb, 15-3, 15-12

5th Place

Pedro Castro & Michael Leduc d. Kurtis Cullen & Tanner Prentice, 8-15, 15-5, 11-2

7th Place

Ian Frattinger & Josh Keil d. Mitch Brayley & Paul Albert, forfeit

Women's Open Doubles

1st Place


Josée Grand'Maître & Jennifer Saunders d. Michèle Morissette & Christine Richardson, 15-9, 15-13

3rd Place

Danielle Drury & Alexis Iwaasa d. Erin Geeraert & Cassie Prentice, 11-15, 15-8, 11-1

Follow the bouncing ball….

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Martell defeats Bredenbeck to win 2018 WRT Georgia Open

Jaime Martell won the World Racquetball Tour (WRT) 2018 Georgia Open in Lilburn, Georgia on Sunday by upsetting top seed Jake Bredenbeck, 15-8, 15-5, in the final. It’s Martell’s 2nd win on the WRT. His first came in 2016 at the Rocky Mountain Open, when he beat David Horn in the final. Martell defeated Horn in the semi-finals in Lilburn.

Martell and Francisco Troncoso took the WRT Doubles title also, although they won the final by default over Luis Avila and Hiroshi Shimizu. The win was Martell’s sixth WRT Doubles title, and Troncoso’s first. Martell had previously won with Alejandro Cardona (twice), Jose Daniel Ugalde (twice) and Joshua Hungerford.

The next WRT tournament isn’t until October, when the Canadian Open will happen October 17-21 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

2018 WRT Georgia Open, May 18-20
Lilburn, Georgia


Singles - Final - Sunday

3) Jaime Martell d. 1) Jake Bredenbeck, 15-8, 15-5

Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Jaime Martell & Francisco Troncoso d. 4) Destry Everhart & David Stincer, 15-2, 15-2
2) Luis Avila & Hiroshi Shimizu d. 3) Justus Benson & Kevin Vazquez, 13-15, 15-8, 11-3

Doubles - Final - Sunday

1) Jaime Martell & Francisco Troncoso d. 2) Luis Avila & Hiroshi Shimizu, forfeit

Follow the bouncing ball….

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Martell upsets Horn to reach the final of the 2018 WRT Georgia Open

Jaime Martell upset 2nd seed David Horn, 13-15, 15-8, 11-9, in the semi-finals of the World Racquetball Tour (WRT) 2018 Georgia Open in Lilburn, Georgia, and will play top seed Jake Bredenbeck in the final on Sunday at noon. In the other semi, Bredenbeck beat Mauricio Zelada, 15-2, 15-4.

You can watch the action from Georgia via the WRT website or its Facebook page. The final will be Sunday at noon.

2018 WRT Georgia Open, May 18-20
Lilburn, Georgia


Singles - Quarterfinals - Saturday

1) Jake Bredenbeck d. 9) Justus Benson, 15-8, 15-7
5) Mauricio Zelada d. 4) Francisco Troncoso, 15-7, 15-11

3) Jaime Martell d. 11) Kevin Vazquez, 15-11, 15-6
2) David Horn d. 7) Luis Avila, 15-10, 15-9

Singles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Jake Bredenbeck d. 5) Mauricio Zelada, 15-2, 15-4
3) Jaime Martell d. 2) David Horn, 13-15, 15-8, 11-9

Singles - Final - Sunday

1) Jake Bredenbeck v. 3) Jaime Martell - Noon

Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Jaime Martell & Francisco Troncoso v. 4) Destry Everhart & David Stincer - 7 PM
2) Luis Avila & Hiroshi Shimizu v. 3) Justus Benson & Kevin Vazquez - 7 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

WRT 2018 Georgia Open - Round of 16

Young USA player Kevin Vazquez upset Japanese veteran Hiroshi Shimizu, 15-7, 8-15, 11-9, in the Round of 16 at the World Racquetball Tour (WRT) 2018 Georgia Open in Lilburn, Georgia on Friday. The win puts Vazquez in the quarterfinals against 3rd seed Jaime Martell, who was a straight game winner over Destry Everhart, 15-10, 15-2.

Also of note, Luis Avila beat Thomas Carter in straight games, 15-7, 15-12, and will play 2nd seed David Horn in the quarters. Finally, 9th seed Justus Benson won the 8/9 match, as he defeated Austin Cunningham, 15-10, 15-8. Benson will play top seed Jake Bredenbeck in the quarters on Saturday.

You can watch the action from Georgia via the WRT website or its Facebook page. The quarterfinals begin Saturday at 10 AM with the semi-finals Saturday at 5 and 6 PM. The final will be Sunday at noon.

2018 WRT Georgia Open, May 18-20
Lilburn, Georgia


Singles - Round of 16 - Friday

1) Jake Bredenbeck - BYE
9) Justus Benson d. 8) Austin Cunningham, 15-10, 15-8

5) Mauricio Zelada d. 12) David Stincer, 15-13, 10-15, 11-0
4) Francisco Troncoso d. 13) Daniel Herrera, 15-3, 15-2

3) Jaime Martell d. 14) Destry Everhart, 15-10, 15-2
11) Kevin Vazquez d. 6) Hiroshi Shimizu, 15-7, 8-15, 11-9

7) Luis Avila d. 10) Thomas Carter, 15-7, 15-12
2) David Horn - BYE

Singles - Quarterfinals - Saturday

1) Jake Bredenbeck v. 9) Justus Benson - 1 PM
4) Francisco Troncoso v. 5) Mauricio Zelada - 11 AM

3) Jaime Martell v. 11) Kevin Vazquez - 10 AM
2) David Horn v. 7) Luis Avila - Noon

Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Jaime Martell & Francisco Troncoso - BYE
4) Destry Everhart & David Stincer d. 5) Alberto Dent & Daniel Herrera, 15-12, 15-8

3) Justus Benson & Kevin Vazquez - BYE
2) Luis Avila & Hiroshi Shimizu - BYE

Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Jaime Martell & Francisco Troncoso v. 4) Destry Everhart & David Stincer - 7 PM
2) Luis Avila & Hiroshi Shimizu v. 3) Justus Benson & Kevin Vazquez - 7 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Friday, May 18, 2018

Mejia & Fernandez win at 2018 Olimpiada Nacional - Mexican Junior Nationals

The Olimpiada Nacional 2018, which are the Mexican Junior Nationals, concluded earlier this week in Chihuahua, and there was an enviable participation rate, as 182 players - 75 girls and 107 boys - participated across three age categories: U18, U16, U14, which are the World Cup divisions at the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Junior Championships. That large participation rate produced some surprises, as only one of the twelve players seeded #1 or #2 made a final, let alone won their respective division.

But Monserrat Mejia’s win in Girl’s U18 wasn’t a surprise, as she is the current IRF World Junior Champion in the division. Mejia was the #1 seed, but needed a tie-breaker to defeat 6th seed Erin Rivera, 15-3, 7-15, 11-1, in the final.

Sebastian Fernandez won the Boy’s U18 division, which is a bit of a surprise given who else was in the draw, but not a big surprise, because Fernandez is the current U16 World Junior Champion. Yet Fernandez had to defeat the two Boy’s U18 medalists from last year’s World Juniors as well as the top seed to win the title.

In the final, Fernandez came back from a game down to defeat Eduardo Portillo, 7-15, 15-13, 11-8. Portillo was silver medalist in U18 at World Juniors last year. Fernandez squeaked out a tie-breaker against #1 seed Christian Longoria, 15-13, 5-15, 11-10, in the semi-finals, and in the quarterfinals, he beat 4th seed and 2018 World Juniors U18 bronze medalist Gerardo Franco, 15-9, 13-15, 11-7.

In U18 Doubles, neither Mejia on the girl’s side or Fernandez on the boy’s side won with their respective partners. Mejia and Claudia Vizcaino lost to Ana Laura Flores and Erin Rivera in the Girl’s U18 Doubles Final, while Gerardo Franco and Juan Loreto beat Christian Longoria and Saul Rivera, 15-12, 15-2, to win the Boy’s U18 Doubles Final.

The division winners will represent Mexico at the 2018 IRF World Junior Championships, November 10-17, which we believe will be held in Juarez, Mexico.

Olimpiada Nacional 2018
Chihuahua, Mexico - May 13-16, 2018


Girl’s U18 - Final

1) Monserrat Mejia d. 6) Erin Rivera, 15-3, 7-15, 11-1

Semi-finals

1) Monserrat Mejia d. 4) Ana Laura Flores, 15-12, 15-5
6) Erin Rivera d. 7) Ana Kristin Rivera, 15-3, 15-11

Girl’s U16 - Final

4) Delia Aguilar d. 10) Maria Gutierrez, 15-10, 15-4

Semi-finals

4) Delia Aguilar d. 1) Sofia Ramierez, 15-3, 15-4
10) Maria Gutierrez d. 14) Ana Cristina Perez, 15-6, 15-10

Girl’s U14 - Final

3) Daniela Rico d. 9) Karime Estrella, 15-11, 6-15, 11-8

Semi-finals

9) Karime Estrella d. 12) Sofia Hernandez, 3-15, 15-10, 11-1
3) Daniela Rico d. 2) Jessica Balderrama Perez, 15-8, 15-5

Girl’s U18 Doubles - Final

2) Ana Laura Flores & Erin Rivera d. 1) Monserrat Mejia & Claudia Vizcaino, 15-11, 15-9

Semi-finals

1) Monserrat Mejia & Claudia Vizcaino d. 4) Denisse Maldonado & Abril Sacristán, 12-15, 15-9, 11-4
2) Ana Laura Flores & Erin Rivera d. 3) Mariana Gisele Avila & Natalia Gonzalez, 15-6, 15-0

Girl’s U16 Doubles - Final

5) Delia Aguilar & Ana Victoria Orozco d. 3) Guadalupe Griffin & Beatriz Hernandez, 15-3, 14-15, 11-3

Semi-finals

5) Delia Aguilar & Ana Victoria Orozco d. 1) Valeria Hernandez & Sofia Ramirez, 15-3, 15-4
3) Guadalupe Griffin & Beatriz Hernandez d. 2) Vanessa Copca & Maria Gutierrez, 15-3, 14-15, 11-3

Girl’s U14 Doubles - Final

3) Andrea Ibarra & Jessica Balderrama Perez d. 1) Karime Estrella & Angela Ortega, 15-11, 7-15, 11-7

Semi-finals

1) Karime Estrella & Angela Ortega d. 4) Sofia Hernandez & Alexa Robledo, 15-2, 15-0
3) Andrea Ibarra & Jessica Balderrama Perez d. 7) Constanza Moreno & Alondra Yañez, 15-9, 15-2

Boy’s U18 - Final

12) Sebastian Fernandez d. 23) Eduardo Portillo, 7-15, 15-13, 11-8

Semi-finals

12) Sebastian Fernandez d. 1) Christian Longoria, 15-13, 5-15, 11-10
23) Eduardo Portillo d. 30) Rodrigo Rodriguez, 15-6, 15-3

Boy’s U16 - Final

14) Elias Nieto d. 13) Andres Trejo, 15-11, 10-15, 11-9

Semi-finals

13) Andres Trejo d. 8) Aldo Caraveo, 15-9, 15-11
14) Elias Nieto d. 2) Guillermo De Jesus Ortega, 15-1, 15-14

Boy’s U14 - Final

10) Omar Gonzalez d. 5) Sebastián Hernández, 15-10, 15-7

Semi-finals

5) Sebastián Hernández d. 16) Andres Ruelas Jr., 15-3, 9-15, 11-9
10) Omar Gonzalez d. 19) Rodrigo Rios, 15-14, 15-1

Boy’s U18 Doubles - Final

3) Gerardo Franco & Juan Loreto d. 1) Christian Longoria & Saul Rivera, 15-12, 15-2

Semi-finals

1) Christian Longoria & Saul Rivera d. 4) Sebastian Fernandez & Luis Saldaña, 12-15, 15-12, 11-6
3) Gerardo Franco & Juan Loreto d. 2) Daniel Maldonado & Rafael Ochoa, 15-10, 13-15, 11-3

Boy’s U16 Doubles - Final

1) Manuel Moncada & Guillermo De Jesus Ortega d. 2) Elias Nieto & Andres Trejo, 3-15, 15-14, 11-9

Semi-finals

1) Manuel Moncada & Guillermo De Jesus Ortega d. 4) Aldo Caraveo, 15-14, 15-13
2) Elias Nieto & Andres Trejo d. 3) Carlos Esparza & Roberto Valencia, 15-13, 15-11

Boy’s U14 Doubles - Final

7) Sebastián Hernández & Omar Gonzalez d. 4) Juan Carlos Castillo & Juan Carlos Picard, 15-6, 15-10

Semi-finals

4) Juan Carlos Castillo & Juan Carlos Picard d. 8) Angel Camacho, 15-7, 15-4
7) Sebastián Hernández & Omar Gonzalez d. 3) Rafael Ayala & Andres Ruelas Jr., 13-15, 15-11, 11-7

Follow the bouncing ball….

WRT 2018 Georgia Open - Preview

The World Racquetball Tour (WRT) 2018 season resumes this weekend with the 2018 Georgia Open in Lilburn, Georgia, where there is an unusually small draw of 14 for a WRT event, which often has fields of more than twice that size. Jake Bredenbeck is top seed with David Horn as the 2nd seed, Jaime Martell 3rd seed and Francisco Troncoso 4th seed.

Other players of note in the draw are Mauricio Zelada, seeded 5th, Hiroshi Shimizu, 6th seed, and Thomas Carter, 10th seed.

You can watch the action from Georgia via the WRT website or its Facebook page. The play begins Friday with the 16s. The quarters will be Saturday beginning at 10 AM with the semi-finals at 5 and 6 PM. The final Sunday at noon.

2018 WRT Georgia Open, May 18-20
Lilburn, Georgia


Singles - Round of 16 - Friday

1) Jake Bredenbeck - BYE
8) Austin Cunningham v. 9) Justus Benson - 5 PM

5) Mauricio Zelada v. 12) David Stincer - 5 PM
4) Francisco Troncoso v. 13) Daniel Herrera - 7 PM

3) Jaime Martell v. 14) Destry Everhart - 4 PM
6) Hiroshi Shimizu v. 11) Kevin Vazquez - 4 PM

7) Luis Avila v. 10) Thomas Carter - 6 PM
2) David Horn - BYE

Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Jaime Martell & Francisco Troncoso - BYE
4) Destry Everhart & David Stincer v. 5) Alberto Dent & Daniel Herrera - 8 PM

3) Justus Benson & Kevin Vazquez - BYE
2) Luis Avila & Hiroshi Shimizu - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

Monday, May 14, 2018

2018 Costa Rica Open - Wins by Horn, Parrilla & Camacho & Mercado

David Horn won the Costa Rica Open - a Tier 3 event on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) - on the weekend in San Jose, Costa Rica. Horn beat Alvaro Beltran, 15-4, 15-6, in the final. In the semi-finals, Horn upset top seed Alejandro Landa, 15-12, 12-15, 11-7, and Beltran defeated Mario Mercado, 15-4, 15-9.

In the Men’s Open division, Andree Parrilla was the winner, and he beat both Horn and Beltran to it. Parrilla got the better of Horn in the quarterfinals, 15-7, 15-5, and Beltran in the semis, 15-11, 15-14. In the final Parrilla beat Andres Acuña, 12-15, 15-10, 11-3.

Felipe Camacho and Mario Mercado won the Men’s Open Doubles division, and they beat Beltran and Landa, 15-11, 15-9, in the final. In the semi-finals, Camacho and Mercado needed a tie-breaker to get past Horn and Parrilla, 6-15, 15-8, 11-6, while Beltran and Landa defeated Ramon De Leon and Luis Perez in two straight games, 15-9, 15-7.

Coming up this week is the World Racquetball Tour (WRT) Georgia Open, May 18-20, in Lilburn, Georgia. Then the Canadian Racquetball Championships will begin on Sunday, May 20. They play doubles for the first three days, and then singles from Wednesday to Saturday. Finally, the USA Racquetball National Singles Championships begins next week on May 23 in Pleasanton, California.

2018 Costa Rica Open - IRT Tier 3, May 9-12, 2018
San Jose, Costa Rica


IRT Final

David Horn d. Alvaro Beltran, 15-4, 15-6

IRT Semi-finals

David Horn d. Alejandro Landa, 15-12, 12-15, 11-7
Alvaro Beltran d. Mario Mercado, 15-4, 15-9

IRT Quarterfinals

Alejandro Landa d. Andres Acuña, 10-15, 15-6, 11-2
David Horn d. Andree Parrilla, 15-9, 15-8
Mario Mercado Felipe Camacho, 15-8, 15-1
Alvaro Beltran d. Justus Benson, 9-15, 15-6, 11-5

Men’s Open Final

Andree Parrilla d. Andres Acuña, 12-15, 15-10, 11-3

Men’s Open Semi-finals

Andres Acuña d. Maykel Moyet Suarez, 15-5, 15-6
Andree Parrilla d. Alvaro Beltran, 15-11, 15-14

Men’s Open Quarterfinals

Maykel Moyet Suarez d. Justus Benson, 15-9, 15-3
Andres Acuña d. Felipe Camacho, 15-9, 14-15, 11-5
Alvaro Beltran d. Mario Mercado, 15-9, 15-14
Andree Parrilla d. David Horn, 15-7, 15-5

Men’s Open Doubles - Final

Felipe Camacho & Mario Mercado d. Alvaro Beltran & Alejandro Landa, 15-11, 15-9

Men’s Open Doubles - Semi-finals

Alvaro Beltran & Alejandro Landa d. Ramon De Leon & Luis Perez, 15-9, 15-7
Felipe Camacho & Mario Mercado d. David Horn & Andree Parrilla, 6-15, 15-8, 11-6

Follow the bouncing ball….

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Croft & Waselenchuk, Longoria & Salas and the De La Rosas won at the 2018 World Doubles Open Championships

Only one top seed won a final at the World Doubles Open Championships in Denver Sunday, as 1st seeds Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas defeated 2nd seeds Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia, 15-5, 5-15, 11-6, to capture the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) title. The Men’s International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Doubles title went to Ben Croft and Kane Waselenchuk, who defeated Alvaro Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa in the final, which had an unfortunate end.

Croft and Waselenchuk won the first game 15-7, and were up 13-8 in the second game, when a rally ended with a bit of a mix up in the middle of the court. Beltran laid out to put a ball into the left corner, and then Waselenchuk went over top of him to play a ball down the line on the right side. The referee called Waselenchuk’s shot good, and no hinder on the play, although Waselenchuk came up hobbling afterwards.

As there was a couple of minutes of injury time for Waselenchuk, Beltran and De La Rosa disputed the referee’s call of a point for Croft and Waselenchuk, which made the score 14-8. Beltran and De La Rosa's complaint led to them being assessed a technical for delaying the game, so the score was 14-7. That’s when they chose to walk off the court and default the match, even though they had run a string of points to get within shouting distance of their opponents.

It was really an unfortunate ending to a match that had some high quality play.

The Mixed Doubles title went to De La Rosa and his wife Michelle, who beat the top seeds Mario Mercado and Adriana Riveros, 15-7, 15-13, and that result meant The Racquetball Blog’s prediction of a tie-breaker in the Mixed Doubles final was incorrect. Previously, 10 of the 14 matches in Mixed Doubles from the Round of 16 through the semi-finals went three games, so it was a bit of a surprise that the final was over in two straight games.

Overall, the World Doubles Open Championships seemed to be a success, as it brought the LPRT and IRT players together, which rarely happens outside of the US Open. And a big reason for its success was the Mixed Doubles division, as new pairings competed against each other, which is always fun, and many of the matches went a full three games, which is also always fun.

This ends the IRT season, but the LPRT season has one more event: the Treeroot.com Classic in Overland Park, Kansas, June 8-10. If you missed any of the action from Denver, check out the LPRT Facebook page or the LPRT Livestream channel, and the IRT Facebook page or the IRT YouTube channel.

World Doubles Open Championships
May 3-6, 2018 - Denver, Colorado


Men’s Doubles - Final - Sunday

6) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk d. 1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa, 15-7, 14-7, forfeit

Women’s Doubles - Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas d. 2) Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia, 15-5, 5-15, 11-6

Mixed Doubles - Final - Sunday

11) Daniel De La Rosa & Michelle De La Rosa d. 1) Mario Mercado & Adriana Riveros, 15-7, 15-13

Follow the bouncing ball….

Top seeds win in semi-finals at World Doubles Open Championships

The top seeds made it to the finals in the Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles divisions at the World Doubles Open Championships in Denver Saturday with Daniel De La Rosa the only player in two finals. He and Alvaro Beltran were the top seeds in Men’s Doubles, and they beat Jansen Allen and Felipe Camacho, 15-8, 15-3, to reach the Men’s International Racquetball Tour (IRT) final. Then De La Rosa teamed up with his wife Michelle to defeat Paola Longoria and Rodrigo Montoya, 15-5, 14-15, 11-7, in the semi-finals of mixed.

Longoria and Samantha Salas, the top seeds in the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) draw, beat 4th seeds Cristina Amaya and Adriana Riveros, 15-8, 15-5. They will face 2nd seeds Alexandra Herrera and Monserrat Mejia in the final, as Herrera and Mejia beat De La Rosa and Carla Muñoz, 15-10, 15-13, in the other semi-final.

Beltran and Daniel De La Rosa will play Kane Waselenchuk and Ben Croft, who have gone through the draw like a hot knife through butter with their semi-final victims being Sebastian Franco and Mario Mercado, who they dismissed 15-1, 15-4.

In Mixed Doubles, the De La Rosas will play top seeds Mario Mercado and Adriana Riveros, who also needed a tie-breaker to win their semi-final against Beltran and Natalia Mendez, 15-5, 10-15, 11-5. We’re not sure who’s going to win the final, but we’d be willing to bet it’s going to go three games, as 10 of the 14 matches in Mixed Doubles from the Round of 16 on have gone breaker.

The finals begin Sunday with the Women’s final at 11:15 AM, with the Mixed final at 12:30 PM, and Men’s final at 1:45 PM. All times Mountain. Check out the LPRT Facebook page or the LPRT Livestream channel, and the IRT Network. or the IRT YouTube channel
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC67kzHthKegmrRXaWzx6pQ

World Doubles Open Championships
May 3-6, 2018 - Denver, Colorado


Men’s Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 4) Jansen Allen & Felipe Camacho, 15-8, 15-3
6) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk d. 2) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado, 15-1, 15-4

Men’s Doubles - Final - Sunday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 6) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk - 1:45 PM

Women’s Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas d. 4) Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros, 15-8, 15-5
2) Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia d. 6) Michelle De La Rosa & Carla Muñoz, 15-10, 15-13

Women’s Doubles - Final - Sunday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. 2) Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia - 11:15 AM

Mixed Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Mario Mercado & Adriana Riveros d. 5) Alvaro Beltran & Natalia Mendez, 15-5, 10-15, 11-5
11) Daniel De La Rosa & Michelle De La Rosa d. 7) Paola Longoria & Rodrigo Montoya, 15-5, 14-15, 11-7

Mixed Doubles - Final - Sunday

1) Mario Mercado & Adriana Riveros v. 11) Daniel De La Rosa & Michelle De La Rosa - 12:30 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Quarterfinals at the World Doubles Open Championships

The 6th seeds have done well in Men’s and Women’s Doubles at the World Doubles Open Championships in Denver, as both teams are through to the semi-finals in the Men’s International Racquetball Tour (IRT) and the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) draws.

Of course, we aren’t surprised by the 6th seeds doing well in the IRT draw, because that’s the team of IRT #1 Kane Waselenchuk and Ben Croft, who as a team are almost undefeated. Their 6th seeding is clearly too low, but reflects Croft’s relative inactivity in singles. To get to the semis, they beat 3rd seeds Jake Bredenbeck and Jose Diaz by the “thanks for coming out” scores of 15-1, 15-3. Waselechuk and Croft will play 2nd seeds Sebastian Franco and Mario Mercado, who needed three games to get past the young team of Adam Manilla and Nicholas Riffel, 15-6, 7-15, 11-4.

The LPRT 6th seeds are more of a surprise, but Michelle De La Rosa and Carla Muñoz played well to come back and defeat 3rd seeds Frédérique Lambert and Jessica Parrilla, 10-15, 15-12, 11-4, in the quarterfinals. They’ll play 2nd seeds Alexandra Herrera and Monserrat Mejia in the semis, as Herrera and Mejia beat Gabriela Martinez and Maria Renee Rodriguez, 15-7, 15-4, in the quarters.

In Mixed Doubles, six of the eight Round of 16 matches went breaker. Then two of the four quarterfinals also went breaker. This is perhaps not surprising, as several of the teams are likely playing together for the first time. But that’s not the case for Daniel and Michelle De La Rosa, who were seeded 11th, but are through to the semi-finals after beating 6th seeds Jake Bredenbeck and Mejia, 15-7, 12-15, 11-7, in the 16 and eking out a victory over 3rd seeds Lambert and Samuel Murray, 13-15, 15-1, 11-10, in the quarters.

In fact, only one of the top four seeds in Mixed Doubles is in the semi-finals, and that’s top seeds Mario Mercado and Adriana Riveros, who won both their matches on Friday in two straight games, including a win over Adam Manilla and Rhonda Rajsich, 15-6, 15-14, in the quarterfinals.

In the semi-finals, they’ll play 5th seeds Alvaro Beltran and Natalia Mendez, who looked like they would win their quarterfinal match with Cristina Amaya and Sebastian Franco in straight games, as they led 8-1 in game two after winning game one. But Amaya and Franco ran 14 unanswered points - many of which started with Amaya hitting a drive Z serve to Mendez on the right side - to force a third game. However, Amaya and Franco couldn’t keep the momentum going, so Beltran and Mendez won, 15-9, 8-15, 11-5.

Paola Longoria was hard on her current or recent Women’s Doubles players, as she and Montoya beat Samantha Salas - Longoria’s doubles partner in Denver and Mar, 15-8, 15-10, in the 16s, and then they defeated Alexandra Herrera, who Longoria won gold with in Women’s Doubles in March at the Pan American Championships, and Jansen Allen, 15-12, 15-6. Longoria and Montoya will play the De La Rosas in the semis Saturday.

All the semi-final action begins Saturday afternoon. Check out the LPRT and IRT Facebook pages for the action, as well as the LPRT Livestream channel and the IRT Network. The finals will be Sunday beginning at with the Women’s final at 11:15 AM, Mixed at 12:30 PM, and Men’s at 1:45 PM. All times Mountain.

World Doubles Open Championships
May 3-6, 2018 - Denver, Colorado


Men’s Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. 8) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya, 15-7, 14-15, 11-5
4) Jansen Allen & Felipe Camacho d. 12) Alejandro Cardona & Gerardo Franco, 15-5, 15-5

6) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk d. 3) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz, 15-1, 15-3
2) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado d. 7) Adam Manilla & Nicholas RIffel, 15-6, 7-15, 11-4

Men’s Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 4) Jansen Allen & Felipe Camacho - 7:30 PM
2) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado v. 6) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk - 6:15 PM

Women’s Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas d. 9) Daniela Molina & Masiel Rivera
4) Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros d. 5) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas, 15-13, 15-9

6) Michelle De La Rosa & Carla Muñoz d. 3) Frédérique Lambert & Jessica Parrilla, 10-15, 15-12, 11-4
2) Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia d. 7) Gabriela Martinez Maria Renee Rodriguez, 15-7, 15-4

Women’s Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. 4) Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros - 5:00 PM
2) Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia v. 6) Michelle De La Rosa & Carla Muñoz - 1:15 PM

Mixed Doubles - Round of 16 - Friday

1) Mario Mercado & Adriana Riveros d. 16) Daniela Molina & Mauro Rojas, 15-7, 15-11
9) Adam Manilla & Rhonda Rajsich d. 8) David Horn & Jessica Parrilla, 3-15, 15-13, 11-6

5) Alvaro Beltran & Natalia Mendez d. 12) Alejandro Landa & Maria Jose Vargas, 8-15, 15-8, 11-5
4) Cristina Amaya & Sebastian Franco d. 13) Felipe Camacho & Masiel Rivera, 14-15, 15-7, 11-9

3) Frédérique Lambert & Samuel Murray d. 14) Erik Garcia & Carla Muñoz, 15-1, 5-15, 11-3
11) Daniel De La Rosa & Michelle De La Rosa d. 6) Jake Bredenbeck & Monserrat Mejia, 15-7, 12-15, 11-7

7) Paola Longoria & Rodrigo Montoya d. 10) Javier Mar & Samantha Salas, 15-8, 15-10
2) Jansen Allen & Alexandra Herrera d. 15) Gerardo Franco & Gabriela Martinez, 11-15, 15-13, 11-2

Mixed Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Mario Mercado & Adriana Riveros d. 9) Adam Manilla & Rhonda Rajsich - 15-6, 15-14
5) Alvaro Beltran & Natalia Mendez d. 4) Cristina Amaya & Sebastian Franco - 15-9, 8-15, 11-5

11) Daniel De La Rosa & Michelle De La Rosa d. 3) Frédérique Lambert & Samuel Murray, 13-15, 15-1, 11-10
7) Paola Longoria & Rodrigo Montoya d. 2) Jansen Allen & Alexandra Herrera, 15-12 15-6

Mixed Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Mario Mercado & Adriana Riveros v. 5) Alvaro Beltran & Natalia Mendez - 2:30 PM
7) Paola Longoria & Rodrigo Montoya v. 11) Daniel De La Rosa & Michelle De La Rosa - 3:45 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Friday, May 4, 2018

First results from 2018 World Doubles Open Championships

The World Doubles Open Championships began Thursday in Denver, and there was one notable upset in the Men’s International Racquetball Tour (IRT) draw, as the 12th seeds Alejandro Cardona and Gerardo Franco defeated 5th seeds Alejandro Landa and Samuel Murray, 15-7, 14-15, 11-9, in the Round of 16. The other higher seeds all won their matches in the IRT draw.

Cardona and Franco will next play 4th seeds Jansen Allen and Felipe Camacho, who were winners over Andrés Gómez and Set Cubillos, 15-5, 15-6.

There was one small upset in the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) draw as the 9th seeds Daniela Molina and Masiel Rivera beat 8th seeds Sara Jeys and Rhonda Rajsich, 15-14, 15-7. Molina and Rivera will face top seeds Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas in the quarterfinals on Friday.

They are also playing Mixed Doubles in Denver, and although there was only three Mixed Doubles matches on Thursday, they were all close. Molina and Mauro Rojas defeated Kelani Bailey and Nicholas Riffel, 15-14, 15-13, and the other two matches went breaker.

In those matches, Erik Garcia and Carla Muñoz defeated Brenda Laime and Jordan Walters, 15-11, 13-15, 11-6, and in a match of doubles partners Franco and Gabriela Martinez beat Cardona and Maria Renee Rodriguez, 15-6, 12-15, 11-4. Martinez and Rodriguez will play in the LPRT draw together and as mentioned Cardona and Franco were successful in their first IRT match.

Look for the action via the usual LPRT and IRT outlets. Their Facebook pages should have some of the action, as well as the LPRT Livestream channel and the IRT Network.

World Doubles Open Championships
May 3-6, 2018 - Denver, Colorado


Men’s Doubles - Round of 16 - Thursday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa d. 16) Danny Beaudry & Joey Lee, 15-7, 15-3
8) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 9) David Horn & Mauro Rojas, 15-2, 15-2

12) Alejandro Cardona & Gerardo Franco d. 5) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray, 15-7, 14-15, 11-9
4) Jansen Allen & Felipe Camacho d. 13) Set Cubillos & Andrés Gómez, 15-5, 15-6

3) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz d. 14) Woody Clouse & Ryan Rodgers, 15-12, 15-1
6) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk d. 11) Tim Herman & Michael Myers, 15-5, 15-5

7) Adam Manilla & Nicholas RIffel d. 10) Justus Benson & Erik Garcia, 15-4, 15-2
2) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado d. 15) Alex Brown & Jeff Mayorga, 15-2, 15-1

Men’s Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 8) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya - 9:20 PM
4) Jansen Allen & Felipe Camacho v. 12) Alejandro Cardona & Gerardo Franco - 3:05 PM

3) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz v. 6) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk - 1:50 PM
2) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado v. 7) Adam Manilla & Nicholas RIffel - 8:05 PM

Women’s Doubles - Round of 16 - Thursday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas - BYE
9) Daniela Molina & Masiel Rivera d. 8) Sara Jeys & Rhonda Rajsich, 15-14, 15-7

5) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas - BYE
4) Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros - BYE

3) Frédérique Lambert & Jessica Parrilla - BYE
6) Michelle De La Rosa & Carla Muñoz d. 11) Maria De Los Angeles Sarria & Maria Riquelme, 15-3, 15-1

7) Gabriela Martinez Maria Renee Rodriguez d. 10) Kelani Bailey & Brenda Laime, 15-13, 15-8
2) Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia - BYE

Women’s Doubles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. 9) Daniela Molina & Masiel Rivera - 6:50 PM
4) Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros v. 5) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas - 6:50 PM

3) Frédérique Lambert & Jessica Parrilla v. 6) Michelle De La Rosa & Carla Muñoz - 9:20 PM
2) Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia v. 7) Gabriela Martinez Maria Renee Rodriguez - 8:05 PM

Mixed Doubles - Round of 32 - Thursday

1) Mario Mercado & Adriana Riveros - BYE
16) Daniela Molina & Mauro Rojas d. 17) Kelani Bailey & Nicholas RIffel, 15-14, 15-13

9) Adam Manilla & Rhonda Rajsich - BYE
8) David Horn & Jessica Parrilla - BYE

5) Alvaro Beltran & Natalia Mendez - BYE
12) Alejandro Landa & Maria Jose Vargas - BYE

13) Felipe Camacho & Masiel Rivera - BYE
4) Cristina Amaya & Sebastian Franco - BYE

3) Frédérique Lambert & Samuel Murray - BYE
14) Erik Garcia & Carla Muñoz d. 19) Brenda Laime & Jordan Walters, 15-11, 13-15, 11-6

11) Daniel De La Rosa & Michelle De La Rosa - BYE
6) Jake Bredenbeck & Monserrat Mejia - BYE

7) Paola Longoria & Rodrigo Montoya - BYE
10) Javier Mar & Samantha Salas - BYE

15) Gerardo Franco & Gabriela Martinez d. 18) Alejandro Cardona & Maria Renee Rodriguez, 15-6, 12-15, 11-4
2) Jansen Allen & Alexandra Herrera - BYE

Mixed Doubles - Round of 16 - Friday

1) Mario Mercado & Adriana Riveros v. 16) Daniela Molina & Mauro Rojas - 1:50 PM
8) David Horn & Jessica Parrilla v. 9) Adam Manilla & Rhonda Rajsich - 1:50 PM

5) Alvaro Beltran & Natalia Mendez v. 12) Alejandro Landa & Maria Jose Vargas - 10:05 AM
4) Cristina Amaya & Sebastian Franco v. 13) Felipe Camacho & Masiel Rivera - 10:05 AM

3) Frédérique Lambert & Samuel Murray v. 14) Erik Garcia & Carla Muñoz - 11:20 AM
6) Jake Bredenbeck & Monserrat Mejia v. 11) Daniel De La Rosa & Michelle De La Rosa - 11:20 AM

7) Paola Longoria & Rodrigo Montoya v. 10) Javier Mar & Samantha Salas - 12:35 PM
2) Jansen Allen & Alexandra Herrera v. 15) Gerardo Franco & Gabriela Martinez - 12:35 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

2018 World Doubles Open Championships - Preview

The World Doubles Open Championships happen this weekend in Denver. It’s a special event that brings together the top Men’s and Women’s pro racquetball players for a doubles showcase, which is a Tier 1 event for both the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) and International Racquetball Tour (IRT). Doubles is often played by us mere mortals, but until recently it was rare to see pro players team up against each other.

However, the LPRT routinely plays doubles at its events, as does the World Racquetball Tour (WRT). The IRT has also had doubles at some of its events in the last couple of years, and the US Open Racquetball Championships have had pro doubles for four years now.

But as both the men and women are in Denver, they are also playing pro mixed doubles, which might be the most interesting draw of them all. Are we interested in seeing Paola Longoria and Rodrigo Montoya versus Javier Mar and Samantha Salas? Or Alvaro Beltran and Natalia Mendez versus Alejandro Landa and Maria Jose Vargas? Yes. We. Are! And those are in the Round of 16!

So is Daniel and Michelle De La Rosa versus Jake Bredenbeck and Monserrat Mejia. Oh, this is going to be good.

There will be nice matches in Men’s and Women’s doubles, of course. We’re not sure how Ben Croft and Kane Waselenchuk are seeded 6th, even with Croft’s low IRT ranking. But it will probably only spur them on - like those two need any more motivation

Look for the action via the usual LPRT and IRT outlets. Their Facebook pages should have some of the action, as well as the LPRT Livestream channel and the IRT Network.

World Doubles Open Championships
May 3-6, 2018 - Denver, Colorado


Men’s Doubles - Round of 16 - Thursday

1) Alvaro Beltran & Daniel De La Rosa v. 16) Danny Beaudry & Joey Lee - 8:45 PM
8) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya v. 9) David Horn & Mauro Rojas - 1:30 PM

5) Alejandro Landa & Samuel Murray v. 12) Alejandro Cardona & Gerardo Franco - 8:45 PM
4) Jansen Allen & Felipe Camacho v. 13) Set Cubillos & Andrés Gómez - 2:45 PM

3) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz v. 14) Woody Clouse & Ryan Rodgers - 5:15 PM
6) Ben Croft & Kane Waselenchuk v. 11) Tim Herman & Michael Myers - 5:15 PM

7) Adam Manilla & Nicholas RIffel v. 10) Justus Benson & Erik Garcia - 7:30 PM
2) Sebastian Franco & Mario Mercado v. 15) Alex Brown & Jeff Mayorga - 7:30 PM

Women’s Doubles - Round of 16 - Thursday

1) Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas - BYE
8) Sara Jeys & Rhonda Rajsich v. 9) Daniela Molina & Masiel Rivera - 7:30 PM

5) Natalia Mendez & Maria Jose Vargas - BYE
4) Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros - BYE

3) Frédérique Lambert & Jessica Parrilla - BYE
6) Michelle De La Rosa & Carla Muñoz v. 11) Maria De Los Angeles Sarria & Maria Riquelme - 5:15 PM

7) Gabriela Martinez Maria Renee Rodriguez v. 10) Kelani Bailey & Brenda Laime - 1:30 PM
2) Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia - BYE

Mixed Doubles - Round of 32 - Thursday

1) Mario Mercado & Adriana Riveros - BYE
16) Daniela Molina & Mauro Rojas v. 17) Kelani Bailey & Nicholas RIffel - 4 PM

9) Adam Manilla & Rhonda Rajsich - BYE
8) David Horn & Jessica Parrilla - BYE

5) Alvaro Beltran & Natalia Mendez - BYE
12) Alejandro Landa & Maria Jose Vargas - BYE

13) Felipe Camacho & Masiel Rivera - BYE
4) Cristina Amaya & Sebastian Franco - BYE

3) Frédérique Lambert & Samuel Murray - BYE
14) Erik Garcia & Carla Muñoz v. 19) Brenda Laime & Jordan Walters - 8:45 PM

11) Daniel De La Rosa & Michelle De La Rosa - BYE
6) Jake Bredenbeck & Monserrat Mejia - BYE

7) Paola Longoria & Rodrigo Montoya - BYE
10) Javier Mar & Samantha Salas - BYE

15) Gerardo Franco & Gabriela Martinez v. 18) Alejandro Cardona & Maria Renee Rodriguez - 5:15 PM
2) Jansen Allen & Alexandra Herrera - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Waselenchuk likely to retire

Kane Waselenchuk announced he will likely retire this off season last Saturday after winning the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Florida Regional Championships. Waselenchuk has been the dominant IRT player since 2008 during which he has lost only twice on court (i.e., not by default), and he’s been #1 twelve times since 2004.

At 36, Waselenchuk is not a young athlete (he'll be 37 in November), but he’s still at the top of his sport, as evidenced by Waselenchuk’s five IRT tournament victories this season, including winning singles and doubles (with Ben Croft) at the 2017 US Open.

However, he won’t finish as the #1 IRT player this season. Rocky Carson will be #1, as Waselenchuk injured his knee at the 2018 Los Angeles Open in January, which led to him missing four events. He also missed one event prior to his injury, and those absences will stop Waselenchuk’s run at #1.

Waselenchuk didn’t say he was going to retire for certain, but that he was “about 90% sure” he would. Thus, Waselenchuk left the door open for a return. But if he doesn’t return, should we be surprised?

Some people suggest that an athletic career lasts 20 years. Ten years to get to the top, then 10 to stay there, and then the athlete is often done. Waselenchuk first became noticed 20 years ago at the 1998 Canadian National Championships, when he finished 3rd in Men’s Doubles with Mike Green.

In 1999 at just 17, he won the first of three consecutive Canadian National Championships in Men’s Singles by defeating the 10 time Canadian Champion Sherman Greenfeld in the final. He played on Team Canada eight times from 1998 to 2002, winning the 2002 Pan American Championships.

But it was on the IRT that Waselenchuk made his reputation. He reached the semi-finals in his first IRT event: the 1999 Bud Light Pro Nationals in Las Vegas, where he beat Derek Robinson in the quarterfinals, Jack Huczek in the semi-finals, and went five games with Cliff Swain in the semi-finals, losing 11-8 in the tie-breaker.

Waselenchuk’s second IRT event was the 2000 US Open, and he knocked off Jason Mannino, who was the defending champion, in the Round of 64, which is the earliest a defending champion has lost at the US Open (note: Sudsy Monchik lost in the 64s at the 2001 US Open, but that was due to a pre-tournament injury but after the draw was finalized). Waselenchuk reached the quarters, losing to Alvaro Beltran in five games.

Waselenchuk won his first IRT event in Chicago in October 2001, when he was playing just his 7th IRT event. He did it by beating Mannino in the Round of 16, Mike Green in the quarterfinals, and Sudsy Monchik in the semi-finals without losing a game to any of them. In the final, he faced John Ellis, who forced Waselenchuk to a breaker after losing the first two games. Waselenchuk denied Ellis the comeback by winning the breaker, 11-8.

He didn’t look back from there, finishing 4th in the 2001-02 season, 2nd in the 2002-3 season, and then 12 seasons as the #1 IRT player interrupted only by his suspension for the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons.

Will he be back? Waselenchuk wouldn’t be the first athlete to retire early and near the top of his sport, even within racquetball. Jack Huczek retired in 2011, when he was still in the top 4. Waselenchuk also wouldn’t be the first player to retire due to an injury, as Monchik’s was forced into retirement because of a back injury.

His age and recent injury are one thing, but when Waselenchuk said he’s “not too sure I enjoy this like I used to” that’s when alarm bells should ring. Sport really needs to be enjoyed, especially sport at the highest level, because it takes a lot of work and many sacrifices to get to that level and even more so to stay there. If it’s not fun, if the pain starts to outweigh the pleasure, then it’s time to stop.

There’s been much talk over his career of Waselenchuk being the best player of all time. Better than Swain or Monchik or Marty Hogan. The Racquetball Blog would be happy to make that argument, but really it’s bar-room talk: an issue that’s fun to discuss, but can’t be definitively answered. In our idea of heaven, we’ll get to spend eternity seeing Waselenchuk at his best playing the others at their best, and then we’ll know for sure who was the best.

Waselenchuk finished Saturday by saying “the run’s been great, and if this is the last one then, man, it was fun.” It was fun. And often it was astonishing. We aren’t likely to see the likes of him again.

Until we do, of course, because there’s always a next one. Then we’ll argue about whether the next one is better than Waselenchuk.

Regardless of whether he plays again, Waselenchuk’s place in racquetball history is assured.

Follow the bouncing ball....

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Waselenchuk wins IRT Florida Regional Championships, announces he’ll likely retire

Kane Waselenchuk defeated Rocky Carson, 15-5, 15-4, to win the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Florida Regional Championships in Sarasota, Florida. However, Carson will end Waselenchuk’s 9 season streak of IRT #1 dominance. That despite the fact Carson didn’t win a tournament this season, which was the first time in 7 seasons that Carson was winless on tour. But Waselenchuk was injured in January at the Los Angeles Open, and missed four tournaments, so he wasn’t able to get enough points to continue his #1 streak, even though he won five tournaments this season.

But Waselenchuk dropped a bomb during his post-match talk, saying “I really don’t know if I’m going to be back next year. I think my time is up.” He’s “about 90% sure I’m going to retire.”

Waselenchuk’s “not too sure I enjoy this like I used to.” He’s going to “take the off season to think about it, but there’s a strong possibility that I won’t be playing Tier 1s” next season.

But even then it might not be the last you’ve seen of Waselenchuk, as he said “I’ll come back and play the US Open and try to play spoiler.”

He closed by saying “the run’s been great, and if this is the last one then, man, it was fun.”

2018 IRT Florida Regional Championships, April 26-29, 2018
Sarasota, Florida   


Final  - Saturday

2) Kane Waselenchuk d. 1) Rocky Carson, 15-5, 15-4

Follow the bouncing ball….

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Carson & Waselenchuk to square off in IRT Florida Regional Championships

Number 1 will play number 2 Saturday night at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Florida Regional Championships in Sarasota, Florida, where IRT #1 Rocky Carson will play #2 Kane Waselenchuk. Despite the rankings, Carson - not Waselenchuk - is looking for his first win this season, while Waselenchuk’s won four tournaments. But Waselenchuk has also missed four tournaments.

In last year’s Florida event, Waselenchuk beat Carson in the final, so that could happen this year, which would mean that Carson would not drop any points from this event. By reaching the final, Carson has successfully defended the points he earned last year. Thus, Carson should finish ahead of Waselenchuk in the season ending rankings for the first time in 9 seasons. Carson was the last player to be #1 at season’s end prior to Waselenchuk’s 9 season streak.

Carson got to the final by defeating IRT #4 Alejandro Landa, 15-9, 15-12, in one semi-final, while Waselenchuk beat David Horn in the other semi, 15-11, 15-11.

Look to the IRT Network, or the IRT Facebook page, for the final from Florida, which will happen Saturday at 7 PM Eastern.

2018 IRT Florida Regional Championships, April 26-29, 2018
Sarasota, Florida   


Semi-finals  - Saturday

Rocky Carson v. 4) Alejandro Landa, 15-9, 15-12
2) Kane Waselenchuk v. David Horn, 15-11, 15-11

Final  - Saturday

Rocky Carson v. 2) Kane Waselenchuk - 7 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Friday, April 27, 2018

Waselenchuk into semi-finals at IRT Florida Regional Championships

Kane Waselenchuk has made a successful return to the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) this weekend, as he’s reached the semi-finals of the Florida Regional Championships in Sarasota, Florida. Waselenchuk beat Alvaro Beltran, 15-12, 15-2, in the quarterfinals, and Jake Bredenbeck in the Round of 16, 15-6, 15-7, to get there.

Waselenchuk will play David Horn in the semis, as Horn was an upset winner over 6th seed Samuel Murray, 9-15, 15-4, 11-5, in the Round of 16, and then beat Charlie Pratt in the quarters, 15-8, 15-13.

The other semi-final will be IRT #1 Rocky Carson versus #4 Alejandro Landa. Carson beat Jansen Allen in the quarters, 15-4, 15-5, while Landa needed a breaker to get past Sebastian Franco, 12-15, 15-6, 11-5.

Look to the IRT Network, or the IRT Facebook page, for this weekend’s action. The semi-finals will be Saturday morning at 11 AM and noon with the final Saturday at 7 PM. All times Eastern.

2018 IRT Florida Regional Championships, April 26-29, 2018
Sarasota, Florida   


Qualifying Round 1 - Thursday

Robert Collins d. Christian Longoria, 15-7, 15-5
Thomas Carter d. Shane Vanderson, 4-15, 15-14, 11-4

Jansen Allen - BYE
Francisco Troncoso d. Andrés Gómez, 9-15, 15-8, 11-10

Set Cubillos d. Sergio Acuña, 15-13, 15-11
Jose Diaz d. Pablo Alvarado, 15-4, 15-2

Felipe Camacho d. Mike Isbell, forfeit
Andres Acuña d. Jose Ubilla, 15-8, 15-8

Sebastian Fernandez d. Ward Myers, 15-8, 7-15, 11-5
Charlie Pratt d. Scott Graves, 15-5, 15-5

David Horn d. Brady Fritzgerald, 15-1, 15-2
Miguel Rodriguez Jr. d. Edwin Galicia, 10-15, 15-3, 11-10

Andree Parrilla - BYE
Troy Warigon d. Christian Wer, 9-15, 15-12, 11-5

Jake Bredenbeck d. Mike Harmon, 13-15, 15-4, 11-10
Maurice Miller d. Scott McClellan, 15-8, 15-4

Qualifying Round 2 - Thursday

Q8) Thomas Carter d. Robert Collins, 15-7, 15-6
Q1) Jansen Allen d. Francisco Troncoso, 15-9, 8-15, 11-6

Q4) Jose Diaz d. Set Cubillos, 15-14, 15-3
Q5) Andres Acuña d. Felipe Camacho, 11-15, 15-7, 11-7

Q6) Charlie Pratt d. Sebastian Fernandez, 15-9, 15-5
Q3) David Horn d. Miguel Rodriguez Jr., 15-4, 15-6

Q2) Andree Parrilla d. Troy Warigon, 15-8, 15-7
Q7) Jake Bredenbeck d. Maurice Miller, 15-11, 15-6

Round of 16  - Friday

1) Rocky Carson d. Thomas Carter, 15-3, 15-7
Jansen Allen d. 8) Mario Mercado, 15-9, 15-6

5) Sebastian Franco d. Jose Diaz, 15-4, 15-13
4) Alejandro Landa d. Andres Acuña, 15-6, 15-6

Charlie Pratt d. 3) Daniel De La Rosa, forfeit
David Horn d. 6) Samuel Murray, 9-15, 15-4, 11-5

7) Alvaro Beltran d. Andree Parrilla, 15-6, 15-12
2) Kane Waselenchuk d. Jake Bredenbeck, 15-6, 15-7

Quarterfinals  - Friday

1) Rocky Carson d. Jansen Allen, 15-4, 15-5
4) Alejandro Landa d. 5) Sebastian Franco, 12-15, 15-6, 11-5

David Horn d. Charlie Pratt, 15-8, 15-13
2) Kane Waselenchuk d. 7) Alvaro Beltran, 15-12, 15-2

Semi-finals  - Saturday

Rocky Carson v. 4) Alejandro Landa - 11 AM
2) Kane Waselenchuk v. David Horn - Noon

Follow the bouncing ball….

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Preview - 2018 IRT Florida Regional Championships

The International Racquetball Tour (IRT) ends its 2017-18 this weekend in Sarasota, Florida with the IRT Florida Regional Championships. There’s a large field of 38 players, which is highlighted by the return of Kane Waselenchuk, who hasn’t played since the Los Angeles Open in early January due to a knee injury. Waselenchuk, who has won four events this season, is 2nd seed behind Rocky Carson, as he’s dropped points due to his injury. Carson is slightly ahead of Waselenchuk in the rankings, so he could finish #1 for the first time since 2008. Waselenchuk has been #1 for the last nine seasons.

With two wins this season, Alejandro Landa has risen to #4, dropping Alvaro Beltran to #5, and in Florida Beltran is 7th seed, as they the rankings to seedings are randomized for the 5-8 ranked players in the draw. Thus, Beltran could face Waselenchuk in the quarterfinals, although he’ll likely face Andree Parrilla, another IRT event winner this season in the Round of 16.

Also notable in the draw is former top 10 player, Shane Vanderson. He’ll need to win two matches to reach the Round of 16, where he’d play Carson.

Look to the IRT Network, or the IRT Facebook page, for this weekend’s action. The Round of 16 begins Friday morning at 10 AM with the quarter finals Friday evening from 6 PM. The semi-finals will be Saturday morning at 11 AM and noon with the final Saturday at 7 PM. All times Eastern.

2018 IRT Florida Regional Championships, April 26-29, 2018
Sarasota, Florida   


Qualifying Round 1 - Thursday

Robert Collins v. Christian Longoria
Thomas Carter v. Shane Vanderson

Jansen Allen - BYE
Francisco Troncoso v. Andrés Gómez

Set Cubillos v. Sergio Acuña
Jose Diaz v. Pablo Alvarado

Felipe Camacho v. Mike Isbell
Andres Acuña v. Jose Ubilla

Sebastian Fernandez v. Ward Myers
Charlie Pratt v. Scott Graves

David Horn v. Brady Fritzgerald
Edwin Galicia v. Miguel Rodriguez Jr

Andree Parrilla - BYE
Troy Warigon v. Christian Wer

Jake Bredenbeck v. Mike Harmon
Scott McClellan v. Maurice Miller

Qualifying Round 2 - Thursday

Q8) Robert Collins or Christian Longoria v. Thomas Carter or Shane Vanderson
Q1) Jansen Allen v. Francisco Troncoso or Andrés Gómez

Q4) Set Cubillos or Sergio Acuña v. Jose Diaz or Pablo Alvarado
Q5) Felipe Camacho or Mike Isbell v. Andres Acuña or Jose Ubilla

Q6) Sebastian Fernandez or Ward Myers v. Charlie Pratt or Scott Graves
Q3) David Horn or Brady Fritzgerald v. Edwin Galicia or Miguel Rodriguez Jr

Q2) Andree Parrilla v. Troy Warigon or Christian Wer
Q7) Jake Bredenbeck or Mike Harmon v. Scott McClellan or Maurice Miller

Round of 16  - Friday

1) Rocky Carson v. Q8 - 10 AM
8) Mario Mercado v. Q1 - 10 AM

5) Sebastian Franco v. Q4 - 10 AM
4) Alejandro Landa v. Q5 - 10 AM

3) Daniel De La Rosa v. Q6 - 11 AM
6) Samuel Murray v. Q3 - 11 AM

7) Alvaro Beltran   v. Q2 - 11 AM
2) Kane Waselenchuk v. Q7 - 11 AM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Monday, April 23, 2018

Weekend round up: Wins for De La Rosa, Parrilla & Muñoz

Daniel De La Rosa defeated Andree Parrilla, 15-14, 15-12, to win the Battle at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, a Tier 4 event on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) on the weekend. In the semi-finals, De La Rosa beat Javier Mar, 14-15, 15-5, 11-3, and Parrilla defeated David Horn, 12-15, 15-12, 11-8.

Parrilla did win Men’s Open with an injury forfeit decision over Mar. In the semis, Parrilla defeated Eduardo Portillo, 14-15, 15-13, 11-1, and Mar beat John Rhodes, 15-2, 15-6.

Carla Muñoz won Women’s Open in San Antonio by defeating Lucia Gonzalez in the final, 15-6, 15-10. But the big win in Women’s Open was Yasmine Sabja taking out Cristina Amaya, who was the 2nd seed, in the first round, 15-11, 15-14.

Finally in San Antonio, Daniel De La Rosa did perhaps the most dangerous thing in racquetball: he played doubles with his wife. But it worked out for him and Michelle De La Rosa (née Key), as they won Mixed Doubles by coming back from a game down to defeat Paola Longoria and Edson Martinez, 13-15, 15-7, 11-3.

The big event this week is the last event of the 2017-18 IRT season: the Florida IRT Regional Championships in Sarasota, April 26-29. And, yes, Kane Waselenchuk is entered. So, fingers crossed that he’ll play.

2018 Battle at the Alamo
San Antonio, Texas - April 20-22, 2018


IRT Singles - Final

Daniel De La Rosa d. Andree Parrilla, 15-14, 15-12

IRT Singles - Semi-finals

Daniel De La Rosa d. Javier Mar, 14-15, 15-5, 11-3
Andree Parrilla d. David Horn, 12-15, 15-12, 11-8

IRT Singles - Quarterfinals

Daniel De La Rosa d. Erik Mendoza, 15-7, 15-3
Javier Mar d. Alejandro Almada, 15-3, 15-6
David Horn d. Edson Martinez, 15-13, 9-15, 11-10
Andree Parrilla d. Eduardo Portillo, 15-10, 15-9

Men’s Singles - Final

Andree Parrilla d. Javier Mar, injury forfeit

Men’s Singles - Semi-finals

Andree Parrilla d. Eduardo Portillo, 14-15, 15-13, 11-1
Javier Mar d. John Rhodes, 15-2, 15-6

Women’s Singles - Final

Carla Muñoz d. Lucia Gonzalez, 15-6, 15-10

Women’s Singles - Semi-finals

Carla Muñoz d. Diana Aguilar, 15-10, 15-11
Lucia Gonzalez d. Yasmine Sabja, 4-15, 15-4, 11-9

Mixed Doubles - Final

Daniel De La Rosa & Michelle De La Rosa d. Paola Longoria & Edson Martinez, 13-15, 15-7, 11-3

Mixed Doubles - Semi-finals

Daniel De La Rosa & Michelle De La Rosa d. Daniel Bautista & Lucia Gonzalez, 15-3, 15-10
Paola Longoria & Edson Martinez d. Andree Parrilla & Jessica Parrilla, 15-6, 15-7

Follow the bouncing ball….

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Salas defeats Longoria to win 2018 LPRT Battle at the Alamo

Samantha Salas defeated Paola Longoria, 5-11, 5-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-4, to win the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) Battle at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, which was an outcome that did not seem likely after Longoria - the LPRT’s #1 player - was dominant in the first two games. But just as she had in their last LPRT match back in June 2017 in Chihuahua, Mexico, Salas came back from 0-2 down to win in five games to collect her 3rd career title.

Salas and Longoria teamed to win the LPRT Doubles title in San Antonio. They beat Alexandra Herrera and Monserrat Mejia in the final, 15-6, 15-2.

Salas did get the first three points of the singles final, but Longoria tied it at 4-4, and then took over the match, as she outscored Salas 18-7 from that point until the end of game two, winning both game one and two 11-5.

However, Salas kept fighting, and again took the early lead in game three, 4-1. Longoria responded, and tied the game, 4-4, and then took the lead 5-4. From there they were back and forth, tying each other at 6-6, 7-7 and 9-9.

Salas got the serve back at that point, when Longoria uncharacteristically skipped a forehand pinch shot, which was unforced. Longoria pinched the ball well during the match. Salas got to game point with a backhand winner, but she skipped her first game point trying to go for a forehand pinch winner.

She got the serve right back, though, but needed to appeal for a two bounce get by Longoria to do so. The line judges overturned the referee’s call of a good get by Longoria. Salas won game three on her second game point when Longoria skipped a backhand shot.

From there, Salas never trailed, and was only tied with Longoria at 1-1 in game four. Longoria did get within one of Salas at 8-7 and 10-9 late in game four, which made for a nervy finish. But Salas used lob Z serves to the left side - Longoria’s backhand to finish off game four, winning it when Longoria skipped a forehand shot.

In game five, Salas jumped out to a 7-0 lead and then 9-1. Longoria did get some points but was only cut it to 9-4 before Salas reached match point at 10-4 with a forehand cross court shot that cracked out on the left side. Then after a short drive serve, Salas hit another lob Z to the left, and it led to a set up on the right side, and she flat rolled a forehand for the victory.

The LPRT) Battle at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, as they won their respective singles semi-finals, and are in the doubles final together. This will be their first meeting on tour since last June in Chihuahua, Mexico, when Salas came back from two games down to defeat Longoria in the semi-finals. Salas went on to win the event for her 2nd LPRT title.

In the semi-finals, Longoria, the LPRT’s #1 player, defeated Maria Vargas in three games, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9, and Salas beat Natalia Mendez, 12-10, 11-4, 11-6.

Although Vargas had leads in both game two and three against Longoria, it didn’t really feel like she was going to win the match. In game two, Vargas was up 5-2, but Longoria tied it at 5-5 and went ahead 7-5. However, Vargas fought back, and tied it at 9-8.

Longoria tied it again at 9-9, but it took six rallies, which was indicative of how long game two was. They played 32 rallies to go from 5-5 to the end, which did come on Longoria’s first game point, as she hit a great forehand splat from deep in the court. It was the kind of shot that when you see it, you’re not sure if it was good, but know that if it was good it was great, as it rolled at the front wall.

Vargas was undaunted, as she took a 5-1 lead in game three. But again they played a lot of rallies - 22 in fact - to just have scored 6 points. Longoria worked her way back into the game, and tied Vargas at 7-7.

When Longoria got to 8-7, Vargas took a timeout. But four rallies later Longoria was on match point at 10-7. Characteristic for the match was that the end didn’t come quickly, as Vargas fought off two match points and closed the gap to one at 10-9.

Longoria called a timeout at that point, and got the serve back with a winning backhand pinch serve return off a poor 2nd serve lob to the left by Vargas. However, Vargas again fought off Longoria’s third match point with a backhand winner.

Longoria prevented Vargas from tying the match with a forehand winner, and then with her fourth match point, she hit a forehand winner to get to her 7th LPRT final this season. Longoria is undefeated this season. .

Salas, like Longoria, was tested in her match against Mendez, but always seemed like she was going to carry the day. Mendez had a chance to make it otherwise, as she had two game points in game one, but couldn’t finish get that last point, as Salas came back from 10-7 down to win 12-10.

In game two, Mendez had the early lead at 4-1, only to see Salas score 10 unanswered points. Again in game three, Mendez held the lead at 4-0 and 6-3, and Salas closed it out with 8 unanswered points to win 11-6.

Neither of the doubles semi-finals were close. Top seeds Longoria and Salas defeated Cristina Amaya and Adriana Riveros, 15-6, 15-9, and 2nd seeds Alexandra Herrera and Monserrat Mejia beat Ana Laura Flores and Jessica Parrilla, 15-4, 15-2, so it’ll be #1 versus #2 in the final.

The singles final will be Sunday at noon with the doubles final to follow. All times Central. Check out the LPRT Facebook page for the action or the LPRT LiveStream channel.

2018 Battle at the Alamo
San Antonio, Texas - April 20-22, 2018


LPRT Singles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1 Paola Longoria d. 12 Maria Vargas, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9
6 Samantha Salas d. 7 Natalia Mendez, 12-10, 11-4, 11-6

LPRT Singles - Final - Sunday

1 Paola Longoria v. 6 Samantha Salas - Noon

LPRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1 Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas d. 4 Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros, 15-6, 15-9
2 Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia d. 3 Ana Laura Flores & Jessica Parrilla, 15-4, 15-2

LPRT Doubles - Final - Sunday

1 Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. 2 Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia - 1:05 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Longoria survives scare to advance to semi-finals at 2018 LPRT Battle at the Alamo

Samantha Salas played a strong match to upset #3 seed Jessica Parrilla, winning 11-1, 11-3, 11-1, in the quarterfinals at the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) Battle at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, and that despite Salas playing less than 12 hours since she’d finished her doubles match Friday night.

In the semi-finals, Salas will play 7th seed Natalia Mendez, who had to come back to beat 31st seed Yasmine Sabja, 6-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-2, in their quarterfinal.

Salas’s doubles partner, LPRT #1 Paola Longoria needed more time to get on track in her quarterfinal against Nancy Enriquez, as Enriquez won the first game, 11-5. But Longoria pulled it together, and won the next four games to defeat Enriquez, 5-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-5.

Longoria will play 12th seed Maria Vargas in the semi-finals, as Vargas beat 13th seed Monserrat Mejia, 11-1, 11-7, 11-9, in the quarters. Despite her seeding, Vargas won’t be an easy match for Longoria, as she defeated Longoria last month during the preliminary round of the Pan American Championships in Temuco, Chile.

Also, Longoria has now played two matches of more than three games back to back for the first time since last June in Chihuahua, Mexico. There she played four games in defeating Mendez in the quarterfinals, and then lost a five game match against Salas in the semi-finals.

Longoria played five games in defeating Gabriela Martinez yesterday, and four games to against Enriquez today, so this could be an advantage for Vargas, although she did have to play one more match than Longoria yesterday, as Longoria got a bye in the Round of 32. But Vargas’s wins were in three games over Lucia Gonzalez, four games over Alexandra Herrera and now three over Mejia.

The semi-finals are Saturday at 4:30 PM and 5:35 PM. The singles final will be Sunday at noon with the doubles final to follow. All times Central. Check out the LPRT Facebook page for the action or the LPRT LiveStream channel.

2018 Battle at the Alamo
San Antonio, Texas - April 20-22, 2018


LPRT Singles - Quarterfinals - Saturday

1 Paola Longoria d. 8 Nancy Enriquez, 5-11, 11-7, 11-2, 11-5
12 Maria Vargas d. 13 Monserrat Mejia, 11-1, 11-7, 11-9

6 Samantha Salas d. 3 Jessica Parrilla, 11-1, 11-3, 11-1
7 Natalia Mendez d. 15 Adrianne Haynes, 6-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-2

LPRT Singles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1 Paola Longoria v. 12 Maria Vargas - 5:35 PM
6 Samantha Salas v. 7 Natalia Mendez - 4:30 PM

LPRT Doubles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1 Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. 4 Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros - 7:45 PM
2 Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia v. 3 Ana Laura Flores & Jessica Parrilla - 6:40 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Friday, April 20, 2018

Round of 16 at 2018 LPRT Battle at the Alamo

More upsets at the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) Battle at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas with 13th seed Monserrat Mejia making the biggest one by defeating 4th seed Rhonda Rajsich, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-3, in the Round of 16. She’ll play another upset winner in the quarterfinals in 12th seed Maria Vargas, who beat 5th seed Alexandra Herrera, 7-11, 11-1, 11-1, 13-11.

Thirty-first seed Yasmine Sabja continued her run in the tournament, as she knocked off 15th seed Adrienne Haynes in the Round of 16, 11-8, 11-6, 11-4. Next up for Sabja will be 7th seed Natalia Mendez, who beat 10th seed Carla Muñoz, 11-6, 12-10, 11-8.

The upset that almost happened but didn’t would have been the biggest of all, as 17th seed Gabriela Martinez took LPRT #1 Paola Longoria to a fifth game with the top seed making a narrow escape, winning 11-5, 9-11, 12-10, 8-11, 11-1. After three really good games by the Guatemalan teenager, Martinez, the tie-breaker was anti-climatic, as Longoria shot better and Martinez gave her opportunities to do so.

There were some close doubles matches, but no upsets in the quarterfinals. But on the bottom of the draw there were two tie-breakers. In one, 2nd seeds Alexandra Herrera and Monserrat Mejia held off 7th seeds Natalia Mendez and Maria Vargas, 15-7, 13-15, 11-4, and in the other 3rd seeds Ana Laura Flores and Jessica Parrilla narrowly defeated 6th seeds Michelle De La Rosa and Carla Muñoz, 15-14, 9-15, 11-9.

On the top of the draw, 4th seeds Cristina Amaya and Adriana Riveros won in two games over 5th seeds Sheryl Lotts and Rhonda Rajsich, but it could hardly have been closer with the final score line reading 15-13, 15-14.

In the final match of the night, top seeds Paola Longoria and Samantha Salas beat 9th seeds Gabriela Martinez and Maria Renee Rodriguez in two straight games, 15-9, 15-2.

The quarterfinals will be Saturday morning (10 AM & 11:05 AM) and semi-finals Saturday at 4:30 PM and 5:35 PM. The singles final will be Sunday at noon with the doubles final to follow. All times Central. Check out the LPRT Facebook page for the action or the LPRT LiveStream channel.

2018 Battle at the Alamo
San Antonio, Texas - April 20-22, 2018


LPRT Singles - Round of 16 - Friday

1 Paola Longoria d. 17 Gabriela Martinez, 11-5, 9-11, 12-10, 11-8, 11-1
8 Nancy Enriquez d. 9 Cristina Amaya, 11-2, 11-6, 11-9

12 Maria Vargas d. 5 Alexandra Herrera, 7-11, 11-1, 11-1, 13-11
13 Monserrat Mejia d. 4 Rhonda Rajsich, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-3

3 Jessica Parrilla d. 19 Montserrat Perez, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9
6 Samantha Salas d. 11 Adriana Riveros, 12-10, 11-5, 11-6

7 Natalia Mendez d. 10 Carla Muñoz, 11-6, 12-10, 11-8
31 Yasmine Sabja d. 15 Adrianne Haynes, 11-8, 11-6, 11-4

LPRT Singles - Quarterfinals - Saturday

1 Paola Longoria v. 8 Nancy Enriquez - 11:05 AM
12 Maria Vargas v. 13 Monserrat Mejia - 11:05 PM

3 Jessica Parrilla v. 6 Samantha Salas - 10 AM
7 Natalia Mendez v. 15 Adrianne Haynes - 10 AM

LPRT Doubles - Round of 16 - Friday

1 Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas - BYE
9 Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez d. 8 Montserrat Perez & Erin Rivera, 15-2, 15-0

5 Sheryl Lotts & Rhonda Rajsich - BYE
4 Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros - BYE

3 Ana Laura Flores & Jessica Parrilla - BYE
6 Michelle De La Rosa & Carla Muñoz d. 11 Daniela Molina & Masiel Rivera, 15-9, 15-2

7 Natalia Mendez & Maria Vargas v. 10 Nancy Enriquez & Brenda Laime, 14-15, 15-13, 11-6
2 Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia - BYE

LPRT Doubles - Round of 16 - Friday

1 Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas d. 9 Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez, 15-9, 15-2
4 Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros d. 5 Sheryl Lotts & Rhonda Rajsich, 15-13, 15-14

3 Ana Laura Flores & Jessica Parrilla d. 6 Michelle De La Rosa & Carla Muñoz, 15-14, 9-15, 11-9
2 Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia d. 7 Natalia Mendez & Maria Vargas, 15-7, 13-15, 11-4

LPRT Doubles - Quarterfinals - Saturday

1 Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas v. 4 Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros - 7:45 PM
2 Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia v. 3 Ana Laura Flores & Jessica Parrilla - 6:40 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Round of 32 at 2018 LPRT Battle of the Alamo

There were a couple of upsets in the Round of 32 at the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) Battle at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, and the largest one is Yasmine Sabja walkover win against LPRT #2 Frédérique Lambert, who it seems wasn’t able to make it to San Antonio. Lambert was to play doubles with Jessica Parrilla, but her name has been replaced by Ana Laura Flores.

Sabja will play Adrienne Haynes in the Round of 16, as Haynes beat Erin Rivera, 11-3, 11-4, 11-3.

Two other small upsets happened in the 32s. Nineteenth seed Montserrat Perez knocked off 14th seed Maria Renee Rodriguez, 11-2, 11-9, 12-10, and 17th seed Gabriela Martinez eked out win over 16th seed Sheryl Lotts in five games, 11-3, 11-0, 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 [sic].

Martinez will take on LPRT #1 Paola Longoria in the 16s this evening, and Perez will play Parrilla.

The tournament continues Friday afternoon with the singles Round of 16. The quarterfinals will be Saturday morning (10 AM & 11:05 AM) and semi-finals Saturday at 4:30 PM and 5:35 PM. The singles final will be Sunday at noon with the doubles final to follow. All times Central. Check out the LPRT YouTube channel for the action or the LPRT LiveStream channel.

2018 Battle at the Alamo
San Antonio, Texas - April 20-22, 2018


LPRT Singles - Round of 32 - Friday

1 Paola Longoria - BYE
17 Gabriela Martinez d. 16 Sheryl Lotts, 11-3, 11-0, 11-7, 11-3, 11-4 [sic]

9 Cristina Amaya d. 24 Carolina Rivera, 11-3, 11-3, 11-4
8 Nancy Enriquez d. 25 Daniela Molina, 11-0, 11-3, 11-0

5 Alexandra Herrera d. 28 Diana Aguilar, 11-4, 11-1, 11-6
12 Maria Vargas d. 21 Lucia Gonzalez, 11-5, 11-8, 11-1

13 Monserrat Mejia d. 20 Cassandra Lee, 11-6, 11-4, 11-1
4 Rhonda Rajsich d. 29 Arrisa Hanson, 11-0, 11-1, 11-2

3 Jessica Parrilla d. 30 Maria Paz Riquelme, 11-5, 11-3, 11-3
19 Montserrat Perez d. 14 Maria Renee Rodriguez, 11-2, 11-9, 12-10

11 Adriana Riveros d. 22 Brenda Laime, 11-1, 11-0, 3-11, 11-7
6 Samantha Salas d. 27 Michelle De La Rosa, 11-4, 11-4, 11-4

7 Natalia Mendez d. 26 Masiel Rivera, forfeit
10 Carla Muñoz d. 23 Ana Laura Flores, 11-4, 11-4, 11-5

15 Adrianne Haynes d. 18 Erin Rivera, 11-3, 11-4, 11-3
31 Yasmine Sabja d. 2 Frédérique Lambert, forfeit

LPRT Singles - Round of 16 - Friday

1 Paola Longoria v. 17 Gabriela Martinez - 7:45 PM
8 Nancy Enriquez v. 9 Cristina Amaya - 5:35 PM

5 Alexandra Herrera v. 12 Maria Vargas - 3:25 PM
4 Rhonda Rajsich v. 13 Monserrat Mejia - 3:25 PM

3 Jessica Parrilla v. 19 Montserrat Perez - 4:30 PM
6 Samantha Salas v. 11 Adriana Riveros - 4:30 PM

7 Natalia Mendez v. 10 Carla Muñoz - 5:35 PM
15 Adrianne Haynes v. 31 Yasmine Sabja - 6:40 PM

LPRT Doubles - Round of 16 - Friday

1 Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas - BYE
8 Montserrat Perez & Erin Rivera v. 9 Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez - 2:20 PM

5 Sheryl Lotts & Rhonda Rajsich - BYE
4 Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros - BYE

3 Ana Laura Flores & Jessica Parrilla - BYE
6 Michelle De La Rosa & Carla Muñoz v. 11 Daniela Molina & Masiel Rivera - 2:20 PM

7 Natalia Mendez & Maria Vargas v. 10 Nancy Enriquez & Brenda Laime - 2:20 PM
2 Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

Thursday, April 19, 2018

2018 LPRT Battle of the Alamo - Preview

The Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) resumes its 2017-18 season this weekend at the Battle at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas with one of its largest fields of the season: 31 players, including the top 13 players and 18 of the top 20. Leading the field, of course, is LPRT #1 Paola Longoria, who is undefeated this season.

However, there are two people in the field who have beat Longoria last month, as both 4th seed Rhonda Rajsich and 12th seed Maria Vargas defeated Longoria during the 2018 Pan American Championships in Temuco, Chile in March. Vargas also won the last LPRT event, which Longoria wasn’t at. Vargas’s relatively low seeding in San Antonio is due to her only playing three events this season, but she’s been as high as #2 on the LPRT in the past.

The top of the draw is loaded with Longoria, Rajsich and Vargas all on top, as well as LPRT #5 Alexandra Herrera and two former International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Champion silver medalists in Nancy Enriquez (2010) and Gabriela Martinez (2016).

Nonetheless, there are good players on the bottom of the draw too with LPRT #2 Frédérique Lambert, #3 Jessica Parrilla, and #6 Samantha Salas. But Salas will have a more difficult than usual first round match, as she’ll play Michelle De La Rosa - née Key - in the Round of 32 on Friday morning. De La Rosa is a former top 10 LPRT player, but who is only playing her second event this season.

They’ll also play doubles in San Antonio, and Longoria and Salas have reunited after not playing together at either the last LPRT event they both attended or at the Pan Am Championships last month in Temuco, where Longoria and Herrera teamed up and won gold in Women’s Doubles. It was a surprise when they weren’t playing together, so it’s a bit of surprise that they are back together.

Longoria and Salas could have their work cut out for each other, as they may play Gabriela Martinez and Maria Renee Rodriguez in their first match, and Martinez and Rodriguez beat Longoria and Herrera in Temuco during the preliminary round and then went tie-breaker with them in the final. But for that match to happen in San Antonio, Martinez and Rodriguez will have to first beat Montserrat Perez and Erin Rivera in the Round of 16 Friday.

The tournament starts Friday morning with the singles Round of 32 with the first round of doubles happening Friday afternoon followed by the singles Round of 16 Friday afternoon. The quarterfinals will be Saturday morning (10 AM & 11:05 AM) and semi-finals Saturday at 4:30 PM and 5:35 PM. The singles final will be Sunday at noon with the doubles final to follow. All times Central. Check out the LPRT YouTube channel for the action or the LPRT LiveStream channel.

2018 Battle at the Alamo
San Antonio, Texas - April 20-22, 2018


LPRT Singles - Round of 32 - Friday

1 Paola Longoria - BYE
16 Sheryl Lotts v. 17 Gabriela Martinez - 1:15 PM

9 Cristina Amaya v. 24 Carolina Rivera - 12:10 PM
8 Nancy Enriquez v. 25 Daniela Molina - 12:10 PM

5 Alexandra Herrera v. 28 Diana Aguilar - 10 AM
12 Maria Vargas v. 21 Lucia Gonzalez - 10 AM

13 Monserrat Mejia v. 20 Cassandra Lee - 10 AM
4 Rhonda Rajsich v. 29 Arrisa Hanson - 10 AM

3 Jessica Parrilla v. 30 Maria Paz Riquelme - 11:05 AM
14 Maria Renee Rodriguez v. 19 Montserrat Perez - 11:05 AM

11 Adriana Riveros v. 22 Brenda Laime - 11:05 AM
6 Samantha Salas v. 27 Michelle De La Rosa - 11:05 AM

7 Natalia Mendez v. 26 Masiel Rivera - 12:10 PM
10 Carla Muñoz v. 23 Ana Laura Flores - 12:10 PM

15 Adrianne Haynes v. 18 Erin Rivera - 1:15 PM
2 Frédérique Lambert v. Yasmine Sabja - 1:15 PM

LPRT Doubles - Round of 16 - Friday

1 Paola Longoria & Samantha Salas - BYE
8 Montserrat Perez & Erin Rivera v. 9 Gabriela Martinez & Maria Renee Rodriguez - 2:20 PM

5 Sheryl Lotts & Rhonda Rajsich - BYE
4 Cristina Amaya & Adriana Riveros - BYE

3 Frédérique Lambert & Jessica Parrilla - BYE
6 Michelle De La Rosa & Carla Muñoz v. 11 Daniela Molina & Masiel Rivera - 2:20 PM

7 Natalia Mendez & Maria Vargas v. 10 Nancy Enriquez & Brenda Laime - 2:20 PM
2 Alexandra Herrera & Monserrat Mejia - BYE

Follow the bouncing ball….

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Mexico defeats USA to win 2018 WRT Challenge Cup

Mexico defeated the USA, three matches to two, to win the World Racquetball Tour's (WRT's) first Challenge Cup on the weekend in Fremont, California. The Challenge Cup saw two Mexican players play two USA players in a team competition. Jake Bredenbeck and David Horn represented the USA with Rodrigo Montoya and Alejandro Cardona representing Mexico in a format like that used in Davis Cup (men) and Federation Cup (women) tennis competitions with each player playing singles twice as well as doubles. Mexico and USA split their first singles matches, and then the USA won the doubles to lead 2-1. But Mexico came back to win the event with two victories in the last two singles matches.

They split the matches in the first round of singles, as Bredenbeck defeated Cardona, 12-15, 15-1, 11-3, and Montoya beat Horn, 15-3, 15-7.

In tennis, it’s often said that doubles decides the winner in Davis Cup or Fed Cup battles, and in this Challenge Cup the doubles winner was going to be up 2-1 after they split the singles matches. The USA took the doubles match, but only narrowly, as Bredenbeck and Horn won 15-9, 4-15, 11-9, over Cardona and Montoya.

The Americans were ahead early at 5-1 and 8-3, but the Mexicans came back and took a lead at 9-8. But the USA got a sideout, and then won three straight points to end it, 11-9. Mexico took a timeout at 10-9, but to no avail. Thus, the USA held the advantage going into the second round of singles on Sunday.

In the second round of singles (or reverse singles), Cardona and Horn played first, and as in the doubles, they went breaker with Cardona squeaking out a one point victory, 15-13, 11-15, 11-10. In game three, Horn had the early lead at 5-2, but seemed to pick up a leg injury that limited him in the mid-game, as Cardona took the lead at 8-5, and then 9-7.

But Horn kept fighting, trying to do as much as he could given his condition, and got the serve back and tied the score 9-9. But Cardona took the serve back, and got to 10-9 with a solid forehand down the line shot. Horn fought off the first match point with a forehand shot from left to right, and then hit a crack serve on the right side that was just over the line for an ace.

He tried to do it again, but was short. Cardona won the rally after Horn’s second serve with a backhand cross court pass. The match winning point came as Cardona hit a second serve Z to the left side, and Horn put his backhand return into the floor.

Cardona’s win meant the Challenge Cup came down to the last match, and Montoya again came through for Mexico - just as he had in the first round of singles - as he beat Bredenbeck, 15-8, 15-12.

By the current WRT rankings, the USA should have been favoured, as Bredenbeck is #1 and Horn #2 with Montoya #4 and Cardona #5, although both the Mexicans have been ranked #1 in the past, as has Horn. Thus, the players were all close in skill level, which made for some great matches.

Thoughts on Team Competitions

The WRT Challenge Cup was an interesting competition, but it’s something we’ve seen before in racquetball. The Men’s and Women’s Team Competitions at the International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Championships used to be a best of three matches: 2 singles and 1 doubles, although they have eliminated that at the last two World Championships and instead awarded points for player performances in singles and doubles to determine the team winners. But while Worlds doesn’t have a true team competition anymore, the 2015 Pan American Games did.

However team competitions are fun. Often in an individual sport like racquetball it can be awkward to cheer for one player over another, because that seems like a personal insult against one of them. But when the players are on teams, especially representing their countries, then it becomes clear who to cheer for - or against, which no longer feels like a personal insult to a player.

One twist on this Challenge Cup would be to expand it to more than four players, and maybe more than two countries. Perhaps the Intercollegiate model that uses a team of six players could be adopted, so that there were six singles matches in round one, then three doubles matches, then a reverse six singles matches to finish off.

And you could have a team of six USA-Canada players against a team of six Latin American players to make a broader field, which would make it more like golf's Ryder Cup or President's Cup, although both the USA and Mexico could likely come up with six quality players on their own.

Upcoming WRT events

The next two WRT events will be the Georgia Open in Atlanta, May 17-20, and then the Torneo Internacional in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, June 14-16. If you missed any of the action from Fremont, check out the WRT Facebook page or their YouTube channel.

2018 WRT Challenge Cup, April 14-15
Fremont, California


Singles - Round 1

Jake Bredenbeck (USA) d. Alejandro Cardona (Mexico), 12-15, 15-1, 11-3
Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) d. David Horn (USA), 15-3, 15-7

Doubles - Round 2

USA d. Mexico, 15-9, 4-15, 11-9

Singles - Round 3

Alejandro Cardona (Mexico) d. David Horn (USA), 15-13, 11-15, 11-10
Rodrigo Montoya (Mexico) d. Jake Bredenbeck (USA), 15-8, 15-12

Follow the bouncing ball….

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Landa wins 2018 IRT Cincinnati tournament, joins exclusive club

Alejandro Landa won his 2nd International Racquetball Tour (IRT) tournament Sunday, when he defeated Alvaro Beltran, 11-15, 11-7, 11-8, in the final of the IRT Mercedes Benz of Ft. Mitchell Raising Some Racquet for Kids tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio. Landa won his first career IRT event earlier this season at the Lewis Drug Pro-Am in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The win lifts Landa into elite company, as he now has a winning record in IRT finals (2-1). According to the Pro Racquetball Stats database only eight other players (who have been in multiple finals) have winning records in finals.

Unsurprisingly, Kane Waselenchuk has the best record in final matches, winning an astounding 109 times against 10 losses (91.6%). But the player with the second best final winning percentage may be a surprise, as it’s Brett Harnett, who won 16 times against 5 losses over 21 finals (76.2%). That’s ahead of Marty Hogan (60-22, 73.2%), Sudsy Monchik (43-24, 64.2%), Cliff Swain (71-42, 62.8%), Charlie Brumfield (16-11, 59.3%), Gregg Peck (4-3, 57.1%) and Jason Mannino (22-18, 55%).

(note: Sebastian Franco and Charlie Pratt have 100% records in finals, but have only played once).

Early in the final, it did not look like Landa was going to join that company, as Beltran played very well in game one, and controlled it most of the way. But it was a long game. For example with Beltran up 9-6, the game stalled, as they played twelve rallies at that score, and after eleven of them, Beltran took a timeout.

Landa broke the deadlock, but he was only able to score once, making it 9-7, before Beltran took the serve back with a forehand pinch return off a Landa drive serve to the right side. That led to four unanswered points, as Beltran made it 13-7.

However, Landa responded with a run of three points to cut the deficit to 13-10. But another winning serve return by Beltran - this time a backhand pinch off a drive Z to the left - stopped Landa’s run.

They traded a few sideouts, and then Beltran made it 14-10 with a great backhand splat shot. Beltran’s backhand pinch shots were very good in game one. Landa did prevent Beltran’s first game point with a forehand return down the line off one of Beltran’s signature lob serves to the right side.

Landa put one more point on the board to make it 14-11, but then a backhand cross court shot got Beltran the serve back. He ended the game with a backhand shot that hit Landa, and the referee judged it to be a straight in shot, so Landa was given a penalty hinder, and Beltran got his 15th point, winning game one 15-11.

Game two started out like game one, as Beltran took the early lead at 5-1. But Landa came back and tied it at 6-6. They were back and forth in the mid-part of game two with 17 rallies taking place to score 4 points in going from 6-6 to 9-7 in favour of Landa.

But from there, Landa rolled, scoring six unanswered points with Beltran serving only once during that period. After being down early in game two, Landa outscored Beltran 14-2, and he definitely had momentum going into the tie-breaker.

In the breaker, Landa’s momentum continued, as he went up 6-1, although that took 27 rallies, so it didn’t happen quickly. Beltran kept fighting, but he didn’t get within two until Landa was already on game point at 10-8.

After being unsuccessful on his first two match points, Landa called a timeout before his third. When play resumed a long rally ensued, which included a great diving get by Landa, but it was ended by Beltran with a flat forehand pinch shot.

But Beltran couldn’t capitalize on that opportunity, as Landa drove a serve return into the middle that forced Beltran to try to hit it between his legs, which resulted in a skip.

On match point #4, Landa won it with a backhand down the line that was just out of Beltran’s reach. He had lob served to the left side, and Beltran returned it straight in, but the return was in the middle of the court, which allowed Landa to drive it down the left side close to the wall, and out of Beltran’s reach.

If you missed the action from Cincinnati, you can see some of it via the IRT YouTube channel, although the latest videos are currently mislabelled as “2018 Shamrock Shootout.”

The 2017-18 IRT season concludes later this month at the Florida IRT Regional Championships in Sarasota, Florida, April 26-29. But the IRT players are also participating in the World Doubles Open Championship in Denver, May 2-6.

2018 IRT Mercedes Benz of Ft. Mitchell Raising Some Racquet for Kids, April 5-8, 2018
Cincinnati, Ohio


Final

4) Alejandro Landa d. 3) Alvaro Beltran, 11-15, 15-7, 11-8

Follow the bouncing ball….

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Beltran & Landa to square off for 2018 IRT Cincinnati crown

Alejandro Landa will have a chance to win his 2nd tournament of the season and 2nd of his career Sunday at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Mercedes Benz of Ft. Mitchell Raising Some Racquet for Kids tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio, as he upset top seed Rocky Carson in the semi-finals, 8-15, 15-6, 11-5. Landa won his first career IRT event in January at the Lewis Drug Pro-Am in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Alvaro Beltran will face Landa in the final, as Beltran defeated Mario Mercado, 15-13, 15-10, in the other semi-final.

The final will be noon Sunday (eastern time), and can be seen on the IRT Network.

2018 IRT Mercedes Benz of Ft. Mitchell Raising Some Racquet for Kids, April 5-8, 2018
Cincinnati, Ohio


Semi-finals - Saturday

4) Alejandro Landa d. 1) Rocky Carson, 8-15 15-6, 11-5
3) Alvaro Beltran d. 7) Mario Mercado, 15-13, 15-10

Final - Sunday

3) Alvaro Beltran v. 4) Alejandro Landa - Noon

Follow the bouncing ball….

No upsets in quarterfinals at 2018 IRT Cincinnati tournament

There was some good play in the quarterfinals of the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Mercedes Benz of Ft. Mitchell Raising Some Racquet for Kids tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio, but nothing dramatic and no upsets, as the higher seeded players all moved on to the semi-finals in two straight games, including top seed Rocky Carson, who beat 8th seed Sebastian Franco, 15-12, 15-7.

Carson will play 4th seed Alejandro Landa in the semis, as Landa defeated Jose Diaz, 15-9, 15-3.

The other semi-final will see 3rd seed Alvaro Beltran take on 7th seed Mario Mercado. In the quarters, Beltran beat Samuel Murray, 15-5, 15-9, and Mercado took out Gerardo Franco (no relation to Sebastian), 15-11, 15-9.

The semi-finals will be 5 PM and 6 PM Saturday, and can be seen on IRT Network. The final will be noon Sunday. All times eastern.

2018 IRT Mercedes Benz of Ft. Mitchell Raising Some Racquet for Kids, April 5-8, 2018
Cincinnati, Ohio


Quarterfinals - Saturday

1) Rocky Carson d. 8) Sebastian Franco, 15-12, 15-7
4) Alejandro Landa d. Jose Diaz, 15-9, 15-3

3) Alvaro Beltran d. 6) Samuel Murray, 15-5, 15-9
7) Mario Mercado d. Gerardo Franco, 15-11, 15-9

Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Rocky Carson v. 4) Alejandro Landa - 6 PM
3) Alvaro Beltran v. 7) Mario Mercado - 5 PM

Follow the bouncing ball….

Friday, April 6, 2018

Franco defeats De La Rosa to reach quarterfinals at 2018 IRT Cincinnati

Another round, another young Mexican making some noise at the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Mercedes Benz of Ft. Mitchell Raising Some Racquet for Kids tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio, as Gerardo Franco upset the 2nd seed Daniel De La Rosa, 14-15, 15-10, 11-10, to reach the quarterfinals for the second time in his young career.

Franco will play Mario Mercado in the quarters, as Mercado defeated Felipe Camacho, 15-13, 15-10.

Jose Diaz caused the other upset of the Round of 16 Friday, as he beat 5th seed Jansen Allen, 15-9, 15-8. Diaz will face 4th seed Alejandro Landa in the quarters, as Landa won a tie-breaker against another young Mexican, Sebastian Fernandez, 14-15, 15-3, 11-4.

In their match, Franco led De La Rosa for the second half of game one, and had game point at 14-10. But Franco couldn’t close it out, as the veteran De La Rosa came back to steal the game, 15-14. Franco again led early in game two, and reached 14-10, but this time there was no comeback from De La Rosa.

In the breaker, Franco once again took the early lead at 5-1. But this time De La Rosa responded sooner, and he tied the game at 6-6, and then led 7-6. Franco’s turn to respond, and he did by regaining the lead with three straight points to make it 9-7.

De La Rosa managed to tie it again, getting to 9-9 by diving to hit a forehand cross court pass shot. Franco called a timeout, and when play resumed he took the serve back with a great backhand pinch shot. Franco was hitting his backhand pinch very well in this match, and hit another to make it 10-9.

Franco drove serve to the left on his first match point, and De La Rosa hit a great backhand splat return winner to get the serve back. On the next rally, De La Rosa held up believing Franco was in the way of his shot, and the referee agreed, assessing a penalty hinder against Franco and putting De La Rosa on match point at 10-10.

But Franco fought off that point with a reaction backhand rekill that was flat, which gave Franco his second match point. He again drove serve to the left, which was short. On second serve, he hit a lob to the left, and a rally ensued. De La Rosa drove the ball down the right side, and Franco dove to keep it in play, hitting the ball to the ceiling. That led to a set up off the back wall in the back right corner, and De La Rosa skipped his forehand shot down the line.

It was a crucial error that gave the game to Franco, 11-10, and match, 2-1.

The quarterfinals will be 10 and 11 AM Saturday morning, and can be seen on IRT Network as well as the IRT Facebook page and YouTube, according to a tweet from the IRT. The semi-finals will be 5 PM and 6 PM Saturday with the final at noon Sunday. All times eastern.

2018 IRT Mercedes Benz of Ft. Mitchell Raising Some Racquet for Kids, April 5-8, 2018
Cincinnati, Ohio


Round of 16 - Friday

1) Rocky Carson d. Thomas Carter, 15-5, 15-6
8) Sebastian Franco d. David Horn, 15-14, 15-12

Jose Diaz d. 5) Jansen Allen, 15-9, 15-8
4) Alejandro Landa d. Sebastian Fernandez, 14-15, 15-3, 11-4

3) Alvaro Beltran d. Adam Manilla, 15-6, 15-13
6) Samuel Murray d. Hiroshi Shimizu, 15-8, 15-2

7) Mario Mercado d. Felipe Camacho, 15-13, 15-10
2) Gerardo Franco d. Daniel De La Rosa, 14-15, 15-10, 11-10

Quarterfinals - Saturday

1) Rocky Carson v. 8) Sebastian Franco - 11 AM
4) Alejandro Landa v. Jose Diaz - 11 AM

3) Alvaro Beltran v. 6) Samuel Murray - 10 AM
7) Mario Mercado v. Gerardo Franco - 10 AM

Follow the bouncing ball….